The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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Critical Evaluation

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

The Diary of a Young Girl chronicles the coming of age of a sensitive and highly talented Jewish teenager named Anne Frank. At the time she made her first entries into her now-famous diary, she was pampered and immature. Former American first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, in her introduction to the book’s first edition in English, comments on the diary’s remarkable veracity, noting that a writer as young as Frank could be counted on to write truthfully.

Roosevelt, too, contends that the greatest evil of the Holocaust and the war that it had spawned was the degradation of the human spirit. Frank is not oblivious to this degradation, but she is somehow able to distance herself from it. With her life in danger every day, she still looks ahead optimistically. She fantasizes about what she and those sequestered with her—her mother, father, and sister, and four others—will do when their exile ends.

The diary essentially falls into two portions, the first year and the second year of Anne’s confinement in the Secret Annex. In the course of the consecutive entries in the diary, Anne develops from a bright but somewhat spoiled young girl into a mature person whose psychological insights are impressively keen. Although she sometimes shows her annoyance at the people with whom she is hiding, she reveals no hatred for the Nazi oppressors who are out to annihilate all European Jews (and who, ultimately, kill two-thirds of the world’s Jewish population). She realizes that she may be caught up in the net of anti-Semitism that pervades much of Europe, but she does not permit...

(The entire section is 408 words.)